So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.
It bears remembrance that Christianity does not offer merely a set of ethical, or behavioral, guidelines; Christianity makes very specific claims about the nature of reality. If Edwards’ famous sermon is more graphic that what is commonly preached nowadays, it is not in fact much different than what is preached from every pulpit in the land every Sunday morning. There is no escaping that Christianity is innately, systemically, degrading, that the degradation of its followers is bound into its most fundamental premises; it cannot flourish in a healthy culture.